Cyclist on runway halts Zurich airport traffic

A 23-year-old cyclist evaded Zurich airport’s costly security system and pedalled onto a runway, bringing air traffic to a halt for around 40 minutes, according to a media report that is embarrassing authorities at the Kloten terminal.

Cyclist on runway halts Zurich airport traffic
Photo: Roger Price

Last year, Switzerland’s largest airport spent 118 million francs for police and security, yet it was unable to stop the cyclist on the evening of October 15th from passing through a gate, ignoring the request of a guard to stop, the SonntagsZeitung weekly newspaper reported on Sunday.

The man, described by his lawyer as psychologically unstable, is set to appear on Tuesday before a court in Bülach, in the canton of Zurich, where he faces charges of hindering public transportation, trespassing and driving a bike without lights, the newspaper said.

His lawyer said his client believed he was being followed by someone, suggesting it is unlikely the man will be convicted.

But while the pedalling interloper’s actions may seem to be frivolous — he had no criminal or terrorist motive — his actions temporarily prevented landings and take-offs on two runways at the Zurich airport.

After passing through a security check at 10.18pm, he was not arrested by airport police until 10.56pm, the SonntagsZeitung reported.

The federal office for civil aviation (BAZL) was informed about the incident and ordered improvements to security at the airport.

A spokesman for the office said those improvements were subsequently implemented, 20 Minutes reported.

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